Archive for March, 2016

Luna Covers “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on a Gayageum

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

Looks like it’s shaping up to be World Music Week here at Futuramen, so here’s Luna Lee covering “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on the traditional Korean Gayageum:

“Crazy Horse”: A Song That Kicks Ass

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

If you’re a fan of the film Genghis Blues (which you should be; it’s a swell film), then you might very well like this performance of “Crazy Horse” by Mathias Duplessy and the Violins of the World.

That weird instrument on the left is evidently the Nyckelharpa, or key fiddle.

Unfortunately, the album this is from doesn’t appear to be available in the U.S. yet…

Shoegazer Sunday: Darker My Love’s “Two Ways Out”

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

Darker My love shows up on the Every Noise at Once Shoegaze map. And even though “Two Ways Out” sounds pretty close to straight pop, there’s just enough reverb and treatment on the guitar line for me to include it here.

H. P. Lovecraft Auction Watch

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

Multiple items of interest to the fanatical H.P. Lovecraft collector are coming up for auction soon:

  • A 31-page collaborative manuscript between Lovecraft and celebrated magician/escape artist Harry Houdini will come up for auction at Chicago’s Potter & Potter on April 9. It will start at an opening bid of $13,000, though the estimate is in the $25,000—$40,000 range. And it could go for a lot more, given that Houdini has his own fanatical collectors.
  • There are also numerous Lovecraft items, most from Stu Schiff’s collection, coming up at Heritage Auctions on April 6. Including:

  • Ten autographed letters from Lovecraft, totaling 46 pages, most of which remain unpublished. Bidding starts at $10,000.

  • An original typescript for Lovecraft’s story “The Festival”, with Lovecraft’s handwritten title page and hand-corrections. Bidding starts at $2,000.

  • A copy of the Visionary Publishing Shadow Over Innsmouth, with an errata sheet containing further hand-corrections by Lovecraft laid in. Current bid is $1000.

  • Donald Wandrei’s copy of The Outsider and Others, and probably the finest copy I’ve ever seen to boot. Current bid is $5,000.

  • They even have the passport of Sonia Haft Greene Lovecraft (to which he had a brief, unsuccessful marriage) which L. W. Currey offered up a while back. Current bid is $550.

  • If you’re a serious Lovecraft collector, April looks like it’s going to be quite expensive…

    Library Additions: Three Signed Ray Bradbury Items

    Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

    Picked up a few more items signed by Ray Bradbury:

  • Bradbury, Ray. A Christmas Wish 1988 (If Only We Had Taller Been). Privately printed, 1988. First edition Christmas broadsheet, a Fine copy. Inscribed by Bradbury: “For Rev. Gerald Watt, C.R./With fond good wishes/for/1989/Ray Bradbury.” Bought for $28 off eBay.

    Bradbury Christmas 88

  • Bradbury, Ray. A Christmas Wish 1989 (The Bread of Beggars, The Wine of Christ). Privately printed, 1989. First edition Christmas broadsheet, a Fine copy. Inscribed by Bradbury: “For Rev. Watt. Thanks for Asking!/Love!/Ray/Bradbury/ 5/6/90.” Bought for $29 off eBay.

    Bradbury Christmas 89

  • (Bradbury, Ray) Weist, Jerry. Bradbury: An Illustrated Life. William Morrow, 2002. First edition hardback (precedes the Donald M. Grant limited edition by two years), a Fine-/Fine- copy with very slight bumping at head and heel. Inscribed by Bradbury: “To all the/Grand Tubers;Ray Bradbury.” Oversized illustrated history of Bradbury’s work. Bought for $27.10 off eBay.
  • I now have three of the Bradbury Christmas broadsheets (which he sent to friends as Christmas gifts/cards), all signed.

    Keith Emerson, RIP

    Friday, March 11th, 2016

    Keith Emerson, the keyboardist for Emerson, Lake and Palmer, has died at age 71.

    Along with Rick Wakeman and Tony Banks, Emerson was one of the great progressive rock keyboardists, and was one of the first players brave (or foolhardy) enough to take the massive, temperamental modular Moog synthesizer on the road.

    (Note the shout-out to everyone’s favorite rock documentary…)

    Here’s more on Emerson’s modular Moog for the analog hardcore:

    Their song “Lucky Man” ends with Emerson’s classic Moog solo:

    Here he is doing “America” from West Side Story on David Letterman:

    In 2011, Emerson actually let keyboardist Rachel Flowers borrow his modular Moog to play a cover of ELP’s “Trilogy”:

    Shoegazer Sunday: Orange’s “Against Nature”

    Sunday, March 6th, 2016

    And here’s Orange, another “classic” shoegaze band I never heard of before St. Marie Records started planning a re-release of their work.

    Either you’ll love Sonya Waters’ vocals (a beautiful high warble somewhere between The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan and Dead Can Dance’s Lisa Gerrard), or they’ll drive you to distraction. I’m in the love camp, so here’s “Against Nature.”

    Library Additions: Two Jack Vance Books

    Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

    I bought a lot of Jack Vance books from an Australian book auction. I’ll be selling the rest of the books from the lot in the next Lame Excuse Books catalog, but here are the two books from the lot that are going in my own library:

  • Vance, Jack. Cugal’s Saga. Timescape, 1983. First edition, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket. Third book in the Dying Earth series (or fourth, if you count Michael Shea’s A Quest for Simbilis). Hewett, A71. Preceded the Underwood/Miller limited edition by six months.
  • Vance, Jack. The Houses of Iszm Underwood/Miller, 1983. First hardback edition, one of 482 trade copies, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket. Hewett, A12h.
  • Quick Review of Hail, Caesar!

    Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

    Dwight and I saw Hail, Ceaser!, the latest Coen brothers film. While I enjoyed it (like all the Coen Brothers films I’ve seen), I’ve got to rank it among their lesser films.

    It’s the tale of a 1950s Hollywood studio troubleshooter (Josh Brolin, disappearing into the role as usual) trying to solve various studio problems. Aquatic star Scarlet Johansson is unmarried and preggers, a big no-no for the era. Missing a male star for a sophisticated urban romantic comedy, the studio promotes game-but-out-of-his-depths oater star Alden Ehrenreich. And in the main plotline, George Clooney, the star of the title, Ben Hur-like movie-within-a-movie, has been kidnapped (by, as it turns out (spoilers!) communists).

    There’s tons of A-List talent in the film, but it’s Ehrenreich who steals the show. His apparently dim cowboy star Hobie Doyle has hidden depths, and it’s his powers of observation that actually unravel the final part of the film. (And if that’s him doing his own singing, he also has a great voice.)

    Things I like about the film (more spoilers):

  • I like that Johansson’s character ends up marrying Jonah Hill’s character, as it strikes me as the sort of marriage that could work out really well. She get’s “the most reliable guy in the world” instead of another bum and he gets to marry far above his league. I could totally see their characters as a Hollywood power couple and Hill taking over Brolin’s troubleshooter job 20 years down the line (assuming the office survives the end of the studio player system).
  • I like Hobie’s character arc. I’ve seen more than one writer refer to “lovable but dim Hobie,” and the people writing that are either morons or the didn’t watch the movie, which goes a long way to prove that Hobie is anything but dim.
  • I like that the Hollywood communists are actually in league with the Soviet Union.
  • I like that the commies don’t end up with the money.
  • But there are problems. One is that we don’t actually think any of our ostensible protagonists have anything at risk, and thus we don’t fear for any of the sympathetic characters. But the main problem with Hail, Caesar! is that it’s a movie with lots of swell scenes that somehow add up to less than the sum of their parts. There’s an On the Town singing-and-dancing sailors number so well choreographed and executed Gene Kelly would be proud. (Turns out that Channing Tatum is an excellent dancer.) The Ester Williams water number (complete with mechanical whale) is a jaw-dropper as well; it must have cost them several million just to stage that one scene. Those scenes are so great that the lack of real payoff for watching Naive Commie 101 Bull Sessions is all the more disappointing.

    Honestly, I think I would enjoy the Coen Brothers throwing their full weight behind doing their version of any of the imaginary movies in here more than I enjoyed Hail, Caesar! (with the possible exception of Hobie’s B-Western Lazy Old Moon; that did indeed look pretty dire). I like “watching the movie sausage get made” movies, but I think it’s much more interesting watching the sausage get made on a single film.